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Tuberculosis prevalence is significantly higher among men than women. We have previously revealed an increased susceptibility of male C57BL/6 mice towards Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) H37Rv. In the current study, we confirm the male bias for infection with the Beijing strain HN878. Males succumbed to HN878 infection significantly earlier than females. In both models, premature death of males was associated with smaller B cell follicles in the lungs. Analysis of homeostatic chemokines and their receptors revealed differences between H37Rv and HN878 infected animals, indicating different immune requirements for follicle formation in both models. However, expression of IL-23, which is involved in long-term containment of Mtb and lymphoid follicle formation, was reduced in male compared to female lungs in both models. Our study reveals sex differences in the formation of B cell follicles in the Mtb infected lung and we propose that impaired follicle formation is responsible for accelerated disease progression in males.


David Hertz, Jannike Dibbern, Lars Eggers, Linda von Borstel, Bianca E Schneider. Increased male susceptibility to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection is associated with smaller B cell follicles in the lungs. Scientific reports. 2020 Mar 20;10(1):5142

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PMID: 32198367

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